Today, Microsoft made the first official announcements about the next generation of SBS, formerly code named SBS Cougar. Windows Small Business Server 2008 is now the official name of the new product. Microsoft also announced that SBS 2008 is part of the Windows Essential Server Solutions family. The other current member of this family is the mid size business solution formerly code named Centro – Windows Essential Business Server.
The diagram below shows and overview of the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 range – both products have a standard and premium version.
Ok – so let’s focus on SBS 2008. The picture above shows that it’s designed for 5 to 50 users – that’s it’s sweet spot, however it will support up to 75 Users or devices just like the current version of SBS 2003 does – so no change there. The diagram below shows more about what is in the two versions of SBS 2008.
One of the biggest changes with SBS 2008 is in the Premium edition. SBS 2008 Premium will include an additional Windows Server 2008 license to allow you to run an extra server in the SBS 2008 network. In addition it will include SQL 2008 license which can be installed on the additional server or on the SBS 2008 system itself. ISA is noticeably missing from the mix here, but apparently most SBS 2003 Premium owners did not implement it (not so from my personal experience but hey – I’m not a normal SBS Reseller either). You could however purchase ISA separately and use the 2nd server for a dedicated firewall therefore quelling the concerns of the security purists who have for years demanded ISA not be on the SBS server itself.
We’ve come to expect to see Windows Server, Exchange Server, Sharepoint and SQL as part of SBS, but what is interesting here is the integration of new products into the mix. Microsoft are combining the online services as well as their products from their Forefront and OneCare range for Antivirus protection of the SBS network. Notably Antivirus protection for the desktop is missing. Also worth noting is that the Antivirus protection supplied is a 12 month trial – that means like other vendors AV, there is a yearly subscription required for this component of SBS, if you choose to continue to use past the 12 months.
Here’s an extract from the press release…
For small-business owners and employees, Small Business Server 2008 provides increased security and protection with dramatically simplified server and PC backup technologies, and one-year trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition and the new Windows Live OneCare for Server. Small Business Server 2008 also integrates with Microsoft Office Live Small Business to simplify setup and management of professional Web sites and private online work spaces.
Microsoft also hint at some cool monitoring stuff here, suggesting monitoring is extended across servers and client PC’s…
For IT managers and technology consultants, Small Business Server 2008 deployment, setup and administration is greatly simplified and improved. A powerful administration console, new monitoring across servers and client PCs, Windows Server Update Services, and customizable reports accessible from virtually anywhere make management easier and more effective.
One thing is for sure, SBS 2008 is set shake up the SBS marketplace once more, hopefully similar to what SBS 2003 did when it was launched. Details such as pricing, upgrade scenarios and more are not yet released. Microsoft will announce more closer to the date of release. SBS 2008 is due for release in the second half of 2008.
Lastly – if you want more information, check out http://www.microsoft.com/essential
NOTE: All information in this article is provided based on official Microsoft released information and does not contain anything covered under NDA – that means there’s more good stuff later that they are not ready to talk about just yet 😉